*All photos in this post are credited to my husband, who was shooting our Nikon D7100 with various lenses*
On Saturday, Dave and I went to Holland for Tulip Time. For as long as I can remember, spring in Holland, MI has meant row after row after row of beautiful tulips. The official festival dates this year are May 2nd through the 9th. While not all of the tulips are out yet, I wanted to go early because the forecast was calling for rain most of this week. If you haven’t made your way there yet, I would keep an eye on the weather.
While downtown Holland boasts many tulips along with a carnival, an art fair, and all the typical fair food you can eat, we chose to venture to Windmill Island Gardens as neither of us had been there in years. Home to America’s only Dutch windmill that was brought over from the Netherlands and restored, Windmill Island Gardens takes you back in time to the 1700’s. A movie giving you a history of Dutch culture plays in one building while shops sell you wooden shoes and all things blue and white.
Take a stroll through the garden of tulips before winding your way up into the windmill. If you can’t make it during Tulip Time, the park is open from spring to fall. A trip during Tulip Time does give you the added bonus of the live reenactments on the grounds as part of the Dutch Trade Fair. Whether it’s the military camp, the field hospital, or the tents housing blacksmiths, fur traders, and more, the whole experience was right up Dave and I’s alley. Engaging the fur trader in conversation and watching the blacksmith work are just a few of the things that could have kept us occupied for hours. Full of interesting facts, these characters are working away at their skills as they chat with you. Whether forging cookware or baking fruit bread, they are all knowledgeable and happy to answer your questions. The working dogs at several stops also prove a fun diversion for children of all ages.
Tulip Time in Holland brings people together from all over the world. In just the few hours we were there on Saturday, I heard no less than four different foreign languages being spoken. Relatively inexpensive at $8 per adult, I was pleased to spend the morning and early afternoon among the tulips. Most everything else in downtown Holland is free to attend. If you’re not eating fair food, there are plenty of good restaurants in Holland but be prepared for a wait. After browsing a few spots and being quoted an hour, we headed out of town and ended up at The Butler in Saugatuck for a late lunch before making our way back home.